A charming and perceptive piece from Sunday’s NYT Book Review : “Please Look After This Bear” by Pico Iyer, about the Paddington Bear books, which Iyer sees as (among other things) social commentary. The beginning:
When Paddington Bear landed in London in 1958, it was still quite a provincial place. Safe, settled, a little gray — no sign of the Beatles or the swinging ’60s yet — it upheld the ceremonial proprieties immortalized in [the film] “Brief Encounter” and [the book] “84, Charing Cross Road.” Men wore ties to dinner, women skirts; the post-nuclear nightmares and beatnik explosions of America were barely visible on occasional television screens. Yes, the likes of the Trinidad-born novelist Samuel Selvon were beginning to give voice to other realities in works like “The Lonely Londoners,” but if a British family’s name was Brown, you could be fairly sure its skin was not.